Governor Roy Cooper continued to urge North Carolinians today to stay in safe shelter and remain alert to changing conditions due to remnants of Hurricane Florence including significant flooding.
“For many parts of North Carolina, the danger is still immediate. Flood waters are rising as rivers crest and will for days,” Gov. Cooper said. “I urge if you, if you don’t have to drive, stay off the roads, particularly south of U.S. 64. And don’t drive around barricades on roads."
Gov. Cooper requested adding more counties to the state’s major federal disaster declaration, and FEMA today approved Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Lenoir, Jones, Robeson, Sampson and Wayne counties. This brings to 18 the total number of counties included in the major declaration. The governor has requested that FEMA add Hoke and Scotland counties, and additional counties will be added later.
Gov. Cooper said many people in North Carolina awoke to see sunshine for the first time in several days but conditions remain dangerous and could get worse before they get better. He cautioned people in affected areas against leaving safe shelter to look at damage, as this can interfere with emergency responders and relief efforts.
Florence has now claimed the lives of 17 people in North Carolina.
The governor again urged people to:
- Stay off the roads in much of the state, especially south of US 64 and east of Interstate 73/74. Many roads in the state are at risk of floods. Roads that appear safe can wash away in a matter of minutes.
- If you must drive, don’t drive on flooded roads. Just a few inches of water can sweep you away. Don’t drive around barricades.
- Be alert for sudden flooding and be prepared to get to higher ground quickly.
- Pay close attention to flash flood warnings and follow local evacuation orders.
As of Monday afternoon, the NC Department of Transportation reported approximately 1,200 road closures – including interstates 95 and 40, numerous highways and other primary routes in North Carolina – due to flooding and debris from Florence.
As of noon, more than 465,000 people in North Carolina were without power, and those figures were fluctuating as utility crews worked to restore electricity to customers throughout the Tar Heel State.
Weather conditions remain dangerous. Multiple confirmed tornadoes have touched down and bands of heavy rain continue to lash North Carolina as Florence has made its deadly trek westward. Even though rain is moving out of the state, the ground is saturated and even small amounts of rain can cause flash flooding and uproot trees.
The Black, Little, Lumber, Cape Fear and Neuse rivers are inundated with major flooding, and 13 more rivers are forecast to reach major or moderate flood stages.
Multiple Rescues, Thousands Evacuated
First responders have reported rescuing and evacuating 2,600 people and 300 animals from flooded areas so far, and rescues are ongoing. The governor said state, local and federal teams have been able to get supplies through to many in need, including some communities that are surrounded by water. That includes 23 truckloads of food, water and supplies that were shipped into Wilmington Monday morning.
More than 15,000 people have sought refuge in 110 shelters, including mega-shelters at Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gov. Cooper thanked the numerous volunteers and the shelter workers who have helped so many people throughout the storm.
“There are so many heroes to thank. The rescuers who are risking their lives to pull people from flood waters. The law enforcement and firefighters who are working around the clock. The nurses and doctors, the pilots, the utility workers. From the people of North Carolina, I say thank you,” Gov. Cooper said.
2-1-1 Call Line Open 24/7 for People in Need of Help
The statewide information line can provide callers with nearby shelter, housing and other storm-related details. Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162, or text Florence to 898211. The information line is staffed around the clock to connect North Carolinians to storm resources.
The Governor’s Office has activated the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund for donations to support North Carolina’s response to Hurricane Florence. To donate, visit governor.nc.gov or text FLORENCE to 20222.